It turns out that impaired sleep messes with our ability to read facial expression in other humans. This is significant since we are social creatures, have social brains and thus, need our instinctive abilities to know how to relate and respond to others. It this a friend or someone I can trust, or not?
“These findings are especially worrying considering that two-thirds of people in the developed nations fail to get sufficient sleep,” explained senior study author Matthew Walker, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley. Perhaps this is why above 20% of online sales takes place between midnight and 4 AM?
The study used brain scans and what they discovered is that those who were sleep deprived could not recognize those who were threatening and those who were friendly. We know that our mammalian, or relational, brain is paired with the heart and our heart is our emotional center, for relating to others; feeling them essentially and knowing what their state is. When we have impaired sleep, this appears to diminish significantly. So all out interactions are impaired.
NeurOptimal™ neurofeedback has a wonderful track record in helping our brain to recalibrate itself for improved sleep. Because our CNS/brain’s main task is survival and adaptation, if we have impaired sleep, our brain cannot regenerate and this leads to poor function and impaired adaptability in daily life. And now we know that it limits our capacity to know the emotions of others.